Olimex Introduces Universal Systems-on-Module with 204-pin SO-DIMM Edge Connector

Olimex has designed several system-on-modules (SoM) over the years for on various processors such as Rockchip RK3188, TI AM3352, or Allwinner A20, and each time they focus on exposing as many pins as possible from the SoC. That’s nice for some application, but it also means SoM with different processor are not compatible, and you can’t simply design a single baseboard for all those SoMs.

Olimex then realized many customers wanted an upgrade path for the SoM without having to redesigned the baseboard, and most were using the same common interfaces, so a family of compatible SoMs was needed. While there are already many system-on-module standards available, the company decided to roll their own SoM form factor based on the 204-pin SO-DIMM edge connector.

The first SoM based on the standard will be A20-SOM204 powered by the popular Allwinner A20 processor. All SoM following this standard will expose the following interfaces through the edge connector:

  • USB-OTG, 2x USB-HOST, HSIC, USB3
  • PCIe
  • 2x Fast/Gigabit Ethernet
  • WiFi+BLE
  • SATA,  SD-CARD
  • CAN
  • IR
  • CSI
  • HDMI, VGA
  • Audio In, Audio Out, SPDIF
  • UEXT1 -> SPI1, I2C1, UART1
  • UEXT2 -> SPI2, I2C2, UART2

There’s also a SOM204-EVB baseboard that should be compatible with all variants of those SoMs.

You’ll find some more information, including the schematics – about the current Allwinner A20 and EVB on the SOM204 page. The company expects to design SOM204 module based on Texas Instruments AM335x, Rockchip RK3399, and RK3288, meaning they’ll have a family of modules with the following options:

  • Processor – Dual Core Cortex-A7 to Hexa Core Cortex-A72/A53
  • System Memory – 1 to 4GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 4 to 64GB eMMC
  • Temperature Range – 0 to 70°C Commercial grade; -25 to +85°C Industrial grade

Long term supply will be guaranteed for the module, although not fixed amount of years has been given, and on the software side, Android and Linux will be supported, likely depending on the SoC used.

Pricing and availability information are unknown at this stage, but we do know they’ll keep on manufacturing the old models of system-on-module too.

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13 Comments
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tkaiser
tkaiser
2 years ago

I hope ‘RK3288’ is a typo just like ‘Cortex-A73’ (being an A72 in reality and me hoping for RK3328 instead)

blu
blu
2 years ago

@tkaiser
Well, given that the AM335x is a single-core A8, RK3288 is a quad-core A17, and RK3399 is a A72+A53, I think it’s safe to assume there are a few typos : )

tkaiser
tkaiser
2 years ago

@blu Typos happen and with Olimex I’m not concerned about this (they’re not going Bananas but fix stuff as soon as they’re aware of). It’s just… when you think about that Olimex just invented a new SoM standard for ‘no reason’ (well, there’s SATA, x4 PCIe and GbE x 2 on the connector) I would expect they’re using SoCs that can benefit from their own new proprietary standard. RK3288 is great in many areas (especially way more powerful than RK3328 when looking at CPU and GPU) but who needs this? Two times Ethernet (Fast Ethernet PHY even integrated) and maybe… Read more »

M
M
2 years ago

@tkaiser

Do you have a website with the board(s) you’re designing and selling by any chance? You seem to have this way about you, you’re always sure to bring up the bad things (in your opinion) rather than the good.

Please release your tkaiser super-awesome flawless ARM dev board you’re hiding away from the rest of us!

bob
bob
2 years ago

I agree RK3288 is a good value for now, but if good rk3399 board are coming…it’s over.
Totally agree with the need to make the same SOM with RK3328, USB3 is very important to improve filesystem speed however no pci-e, bad for a dev SOM…maybe the reason they didn’t release a rk3328 som first.

bob
bob
2 years ago

I m wrong about pcie as rk3288 don’t have this interface.
The common of these 3 SOM (A20, RK3288 and RK3399) is the LCD output, without the motherboard eg develloping embedded device.

tkaiser
tkaiser
2 years ago

@bob LCD support is pointless with a SoM standard not exposing this interface (or let’s better say these interfaces since various SoC vendors provide different ways to attach LCDs), there’s only HDMI and VGA (which AFAIK is an A20 only thing anway). RK3288 while being extremely powerful wrt CPU and GPU cores is just boring for this use case since due to thermal issues you won’t benefit from high ‘sustained performance’ anyway in embedded situations and RK3288’s interface mix is as crappy as A64’s. Whereas RK3328 already provides two real Ethernet interfaces and a blazing fast USB3 implementation. If Olimex… Read more »

peter
peter
2 years ago

M :
@tkaiser
Do you have a website with the board(s) you’re designing and selling by any chance? You seem to have this way about you, you’re always sure to bring up the bad things (in your opinion) rather than the good.
Please release your tkaiser super-awesome flawless ARM dev board you’re hiding away from the rest of us!

I actually like that tkaiser points out, whats bad. Because its the bad things I have problems with.

M
M
2 years ago

peter : M : @tkaiser Do you have a website with the board(s) you’re designing and selling by any chance? You seem to have this way about you, you’re always sure to bring up the bad things (in your opinion) rather than the good. Please release your tkaiser super-awesome flawless ARM dev board you’re hiding away from the rest of us! I actually like that tkaiser points out, whats bad. Because its the bad things I have problems with. Thanks for your reply! It’s the way you put across those views that make people listen. Don’t get me wrong I… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
2 years ago

peter :
I actually like that tkaiser points out, whats bad. Because its the bad things I have problems with.

Even more brash negativity spread in the meantime over at https://olimex.wordpress.com/ 🙂

blu
blu
2 years ago

@tkaiser
Brash negativity (read: constructive criticism) is what the current Arm SBC landscape needs most of all. The entire scene needs to get out of the garage stage and into the ‘predictably-good home computing’ stage. So I, for one, am perfectly fine with ‘brash negativity’, in hope that vendors eventually start listening.

M
M
2 years ago

Author: blu Comment: @tkaiser Brash negativity (read: constructive criticism) is what the current Arm SBC landscape needs most of all. The entire scene needs to get out of the garage stage and into the ‘predictably-good home computing’ stage. So I, for one, am perfectly fine with ‘brash negativity’, in hope that that vendors eventually start listening. I really hope they do listen to him! And lastly, apologies to tkaiser if any of my comments offended you. I know you’re seriously fed up with the state of ARM boards but belittling (A.K.A negative “constructive criticism”) gets people nowhere. Please for the… Read more »

paul M
paul M
2 years ago

still no announcement on when this will be available 🙁

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